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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed shore protection project in Thulhaadhoo, Baa Atoll
Authors: CDE Consulting
Keywords: Project description
Policy and legal framework
Existing environment
Impacts identification
Significant impacts and mitigation measures
Environmental management plan
Environmental monitoring plan
Stakeholder consultations
Potential data gaps and assessment limitations
Issue Date: Dec-2015
Citation: CDE Consulting. (2015). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed shore protection project in Thulhaadhoo, Baa Atoll. Male': Maldives
Abstract: The purpose of this document is to fulfil the requirements to get necessary environmental clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency to carry out the proposed erosion mitigation measures on Thulhaadhoo Island, Baa Atoll. The proponent of this project is Ministry of Environment & Energy. The main rationale for the project is to mitigate erosion on the southern shoreline of Thulhaadhoo where erosion and coastal flooding threatens the existing houses. The island has been reclaimed in 2010 and shore protection measures have been deployed in much of the island. A 550 m section was left unprotected under the original project and the area in question is a 355 m stretch of this shoreline. This project mainly involves constructing a 355 m revetment using armour rock. Approximately 7000-8000 cbm of sand will be dredged from the future boat yard area to backfill and profile the existing beach. The revetment design is the same as those presently used on the island. All project activities will be in conformance to the laws and regulations of the Maldives, and relevant international conventions that Maldives is party to. The key laws and regulations applicable to this project are: Environmental Protection and Preservation Act, Dredging and Reclamation regulation and Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation 2012. Additional approvals are required for the following before commencement of project activities including detailed drawings approval from the Ministry of Environment, Revision to the Dredging and Reclamation approval if the alternative site plan is chosen. Thulhaadhoo Island is a highly modified island with multiple land reclamation projects. The island has been enlarged 80% of its original size. There are numerous coastal development including harbour, dredged basins, groynes and shore protections measures deployed following the most recent land reclamation project. At present much of the island shoreline is protected by a revetment or other shore protection measures. The area of concern with regard to erosion is a 550 m section on the southern shoreline. In this area, a 355 m section is very close to the exiting settlement and is at risk from erosion and occasional flooding. This project is aimed at protecting this specific stretch of shoreline. The proposed revetment site is the existing beach. It is dominated by construction debris. The proposed borrow site is a shallow reef flat which not contain any live corals. The neared live coral cover zone is far from the site. Moderate live coral cover was observed on the reef slope at the surveyed points Significant impacts of this project during construction phase of the project are potential significant impacts on the marine environment due to excessive sedimentation, turbidity and direct excavation related to temporary sand bed construction. The specific impacts on the coral reef and lagoon environment are cumulative in nature due to recent reclamation projects and include loss of lagoon benthos organisms along the dredge site, temporary sedimentation in the lagoon where some patch reef are present, loss of seagrass and temporary impacts on fish life. These impacts are likely to persist only in the short-term. There will positive and negative impacts on hydrodynamics and beach erosion. Changes to hydrodynamics are an intended objective of the project. Erosion will cease around the project site and risk of flooding will be reduced. The corners of the revetment where it meets the unprotected beach will erode. During the operation phase the main concerns are the potential risks to health and safety. There is also the potential risk of erosion in unprotected sections of the beach. Most of these impacts can be minimized with proper mitigation measures recommended in the report. Key mitigation measures for the construction stage include working during calm conditions to minimise damage to the surrounding lagoon. It is also recommended to put ducts in the revetment to allow exits for the existing sewage pipes. Consultations were held with the public, Island Council and Ministry of Environment. All parties were in favour of the project. Some locals would like to see a design change as the revetments reduce beach space available and is considered a breeding ground for pests. They also would like the Government to protect severely eroding north-western corner of the island. The alternatives evaluated for the project were the no project option, alternative erosion mitigation plan, alternative materials, alternative sediment containment measures and sand burrow areas. The “no project” option is not viable on this island due to ongoing erosion. Alternative erosion mitigation measures were analyzed based on the recommendations from the public. An alternative near shore breakwater design was considered but could prove to be beyond the proposed budget due to the increase in rock volume, work methodology, timing and the needs to create a wide beach between the existing settlement and the beach. At present the distance between the nearest building and beach is around 15 m. The monitoring plan has been designed with a focus to analyse the significant impacts over time, particularly the effect on water quality and the impacts on marine life. A management framework has been proposed and it is essential that this framework be used in the construction stage of the project. The operation stage management can fall within the overall resort environmental management framework. In conclusion, the project mainly has beneficial socio-economic impacts and limited environmental impacts
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